[Leadership Summit 2011] Creativity & Passion Means – Part 3

Here is the third post in my series of answering questions from Clemson’s Leadership Summit 2011, questions surrounding Creativity and Passion. Enjoy!

If we were to take a ‘behind the scenes’ look at your personal leadership journey, what was one of your toughest Challenges in leading with Creativity? Passion? Greatest rewards?

The toughest challenge that I have faced is learning how to articulate my passion and creative thoughts. Sometimes I have a hard time harnessing the words…the right phrases…the right thing to say. Do I consider myself a great leader…heck if i know. But where I have become humbled in my creative leadership is not in my everyday business relationships…but it is when I teach. “Teaching” will teach you how to lead and teach you how to articulate your vision over a period of time. The greatest challenge bestowed upon me was by one of my academic mentors Dr. Summer Taylor, who passed away this year at a young age, asked me to teach on the collegiate level.

Sharing my passion and vision with business leaders is nothing to compared to sharing the same energy with 20 year old college students. It has nothing to do with passion or vision…it has to do with language. Many of the businesses I work with or partner share similar passions and engage in mutual trust. But, walking into the classroom with a new set of students…you are having to change a culture, expose them to a new language, and build trust in hopes that the semester will go as planned. Then you have to learn how to move yourself into the same discourse level as the student, help them see the vision through your eyes…but you must view life through their eyes first.

And here is my greatest reward…the thank you letters. I tear up over them and treasure each one. I had a student who had no path, no idea of tomorrow, but she loved dolphins. I am not sure what her major was at the time…but she was not sure what to do after graduation. But, she loved dolphins. This is the note from Kara…

Aloha Bobby!

This is Kara Harper. I hope you remember me. I was in your Business Writing Class in 2009. I was the girl that wanted to be a dolphin trainer in Hawaii. Well, I just wanted to write you and thank you for everything you did for me in our class. My networking actually got me a job at Dolphin Quest Hawaii, and I am working with the dolphins every day, doing what I always dreamt of doing. I have you to thank for my success in achieving my dreams. I just wanted you to know how much of a difference you are making in every students’ life. Thank you for all you do.

Take care!
Kara Harper

I shed tears every time I read this…

How are we inspiring our tomorrow to be better leaders today? What is our lasting legacy?

***Photo courtesy from Aliens on Earth Blog.